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Beginning - 03 Feb 2024

An introduction to Scottish Gaelic for harpists and singers

Description

Gaelic Scotland has a rich history of language, music, and song. This course will introduce you to the Scottish Gaelic language and take you through the basics of pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. You'll then explore the historical tradition of heroic ballads, and learn where to find texts and tunes. Building on your introduction to the language, you'll learn to pronounce and sing an evocative Scottish Gaelic song.

This course is for anyone who wants an introduction to speaking and singing in Scottish Gaelic, and/or wants to improve their musicianship of the repertoire of Gaelic Scotland with an understanding of the sounds and stresses of the language.

Course Duration

6 Sessions

Level

All

Class Time

5:30–6:45 pm (Irish time)

Tutor(s)

Price

€130.00

Saturday | 5:30–6:45 pm (Irish time)

03 Feb

Session 1

Introduction to Scottish Gaelic language (1 of 3)

Pronunciation — basic sounds, stresses. Reading and speaking simple sentences for practice / communication. Brief review of resources. [Davine Sutherland]

10 Feb

Session 2

Introduction to Scottish Gaelic language (2 of 3)

Pronunciation (continued) —  simple grammar, word-order, vocabulary. Practice in using and recognising these features. [Davine Sutherland]

17 Feb

Session 3

Introduction to Scottish Gaelic language (3 of 3)

More nuanced pronunciation features, further vocabulary, grammar. Practising some useful phrases for music performance etc. Suggestions for further study. [Davine Sutherland]

24 Feb

Session 4

The Gaelic tradition of heroic ballads

In this session we will explore the tradition of heroic ballads in Gaelic Scotland, looking at why the texts were so popular, the collecting activity, transmission, and where to find texts and tunes. [Dr Anja Gunderloch]

02 Mar

Session 5

Learn to sing a Scottish Gaelic song: Alasdair a Gleanna Garadh [Alastair of Glengarry] (1 of 2)

In this session you will learn to pronounce and sing the lyrics of Alasdair a Gleanna Garadh, probably the most famous poem of the Scottish Gaelic Poet Sìleas na Ceapach (c. 1660-1729). Daughter of the Chief of the MacDonalds, she was the Gaelic poet of the 1715 Jacobite rising, and wrote this lament with heartfelt elegance of her kinsman Alexander, Chief of the MacDonalds of Glengarry, following his death in 1721. The tune comes from the singing of William Matheson, but also appears in the Angus Fraser MS (1816). According to Mr. Matheson, this tune was a popular mould for Gaelic poetry from the 18th century, being the only extant tune that fits poems of this meter. This may be the oldest poem to use the tune. Mr. Fraser asserts “other bards both before and after Sìleas day used the air exclusively in heroic or battle songs.” [James Ruff]

09 Mar

Session 6

Learn to sing a Scottish Gaelic song: Alasdair a Gleanna Garadh [Alastair of Glengarry] (2 of 2)

In this session we will recap the work we did in the previous session. A score for harp will be provided, and we will work on playing and singing the song at the same time. [James Ruff]

What to Expect

In this course, students will

  • be introduced to the basics of Scottish Gaelic pronunciation, syntax and grammar
  • develop an understanding of the sounds and stresses of Scottish Gaelic language
  • explore the historical tradition of heroic ballads in Gaelic Scotland
  • learn where to find texts and tunes for Scottish Gaelic ballads and songs
  • learn to pronounce and sing the lyrics of a Scottish Gaelic song

Technical Requirements

  • A laptop, desktop or tablet computer; we do not recommend using a phone to participate
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Access to a printer for downloadable course materials
  • Access to the Zoom platform; further information to help you get set up for participating over Zoom will be sent after you have registered

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